Gray Area

Bryan Bowie's handmade tote gives guys a brand-new bag. By Jason Wilson
In lieu of the ubiquitous nylon satchel with its triangular logo resembling a haughty upturned nose, the messenger bag used to be the preferred option for stylish portage. Fortunately, for our eyes (not so much for our backs), the demand for roomier day-to-day stowage, has prompted designers to think a bit further outside the box (or bag as it were), crafting various shapes and sizes to stress function over status.
With its inconspicuous details, hand-made finish, and nontraditional fabrication, Bryan Bowie's Nostalgie Workbag injects a stable and sturdy option into the accessories fray that doesn't beg for attention. "I want them to be trusted and rugged," says Bowie. "Something you don't have to worry about loading up, throwing over your shoulder, and just going with."
Bowie assembles each bag by hand, allowing him to augment them with small details like the placement of key ring attachments, outside and inside pockets, and special linings. Cotton twills, tweeds, and reverse vintage denim fabrics bolster the bags' sturdiness and accentuate the nostalgic allusions. Though there is only one bag shape (based on those of worker and mail-carrier bags from old photographs), "the point is that from bag to bag, changes and subtle tweaks can be made that effect the look but not the style of the bag," says Bowie. "I think it's a good thing to be able to play with," he adds. As an added bonus, each bag includes a laptop carrying case that can be detached and used on its own. It's a detail that casts our thoughts back to those messenger bag days, making us wish we'd had one of these instead.
Nostalgie Workbag, $175, available in June online at
Bryan Bowie's handmade tote gives guys a brand-new bag.

More from Shopping